General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.) Replaces George Tenet as Speaker for the John T. Vucurevich Foundation Annual Speakers Series

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Rapid City, SD –General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.) will replace George Tenet at the annual speaker series hosted by the John T. Vucurevich Foundation. Due to circumstances beyond his control, George Tenet will be unable to speak in Rapid City, as previously scheduled. General Tommy Franks will be speaking on "The Global War on Terrorism" at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre on April 15th. All tickets previously purchased for George Tenet will be honored. If desired, full refunds on George Tenet tickets are available through the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Box Office.

Tommy Franks was commissioned in the U.S Army after spending two years at the University of Texas. Franks was immediately sent to Viet Nam, where he earned six awards for Valor and three Purple Hearts. That assignment was the start of a long and distinguished career that would take him from one world hot spot to another - from West Germany at the height of the Cold War, to the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, to the deserts of Arabia-where he gained the knowledge and experience that would prepare him for the leadership role that would mark his place in the annals of American History.

In June 2000, he was promoted to four-star General and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. It's in this position that the world knows Tommy Franks best - the culmination of an almost four-decade military career that saw him lead American and Coalition troops in two strategically unprecedented campaigns in two years – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.


The General's awards include five Distinguished Service Medals, four Legions of Merit, four Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts, in addition to numerous foreign awards. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on May 25, 2004. President George W. Bush awarded him the Nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on December 14, 2004.

Since his retirement from the military in 2003, General Franks has traveled the world speaking on leadership, character and the value of Democracy. His autobiography, American Soldier, debuted Number #1 on The New York Times bestseller list in August 2004. President George W. Bush calls Franks, "a down to earth, no-nonsense guy." His troops call him, "a soldier's General," and his associates call him, "an astute businessman." His grandkids call him "Pooh."

Retired General Franks will be the 18th individual to be featured in the "An Evening With..." Speaker Series. The John T. Vucurevich Foundation Speaker Series sponsors prominent national and international individuals who have a vision for the future, promote understanding and awareness in the world, have a special talent, or who may be an inspiration to the people in Rapid City and the surrounding area. Previous speakers include: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Ret. General Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Beck Weathers, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhuto, and last year's speaker, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation awards grants to charitable organizations committed to helping the poor, distressed, under privileged, the advancement of the arts, education & science, and promotion of social welfare in South Dakota with preference given to the West River area and in particular the Black Hills region. "In addition to the Foundation's philanthropic work, my father, John Vucurevich, thoroughly enjoyed bringing foreign dignitaries and others with diverse view points on a multitude of topics to Rapid City," says Tom Vucurevich, Board Member. Thus began, "An Evening With..." Speaker Series in 1993, providing an educational opportunity for the general public. Ticket sales cover only a portion of the cost of this event, and are a gift to the people of this community.

Ticket cost is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for students, and can be purchased at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Box Office at 1-800-GOT-MINE, 605-394-4111 or www.gotmine.com. All seating will be reserved. Cameras, recording and video equipment will be prohibited the night of the performance.

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